Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Family, Friends, and Neighbors (who have reshaped my definition of friends and neighbors over these past couple days), and especially you wife. God is with you. Always. Even as he is with him. Even as God is with you, may grace, mercy and peace also be with you through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The text I have chosen for our mediation today on the occasion of his funeral are the words of Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3. Hear again some of the selected lines:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
If you turn on the television today you will not see or hear people mourning the loss of the great man we have gathered today to mourn. Trust me they are missing out on a great story of a great life and a great reason to weep good tears of joy at a life well lived. Instead you will hear the talking heads going on and on about time. Time is running out. We are almost out of time. These words will be a refrain up until tomorrow when the lines may very well turn into, we ran out of time, there wasn’t enough time, time got away from us.
Of course the time that the media outlets are talking about is the dwindling hours remaining before new tax laws can be passed to prevent the falling off of the fiscal cliff. Time is running out before taxes go up.
Come quickly Lord Jesus. Thankfully he is done fighting the battle here with us in the church militant. And along with that peace he now has, he never has to hear about how difficult it is for congress and our other leaders to straighten out our tax system and other systems.
Time is a favorite topic of people though. This is not new. In Ecclesiastes 1:9 Solomon tells us there is nothing new under the sun. Since the dawn of time, people have been obsessed with time.
22 times in the first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon uses the word time. Often we spend so much time talking about time, we run the danger of forgetting the one who has created time and who has ordered our days and our lives. This one who created and ordered all things has decided his time was up.
A time to be born was 91 years, 5 months and 7 days ago for him. 33,394 days later, the Lord had determined it was his time to die. In between were so many times worth remembering. 65 years of marriage, 29 months serving our country, 91 year of learning of our Savior’s love, more than a lifetime’s worth of faithful work as the detail man who had so much useless information that was so useful to his coworkers and supervisors; years of faithful membership at Trinity Lutheran where he strengthened so many of his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by being a devout and righteous man. Through those years there were times to laugh and times to mourn.
Not everything was glimmering for him. His battle here on earth was fraught with temptations. Fraught with doubts that Satan attempted to thwart God’s good plan with. But the time of war has ended for him and he is now enjoying a time of perfect peace.
He would want me to remind you today where that perfect peace came from. It was so comforting and encouraging to be studying the story of another devout and faithful man of God last week as I met with his wife and sat with her and a neighbor and him praying. Simeon was a man who like he didn’t receive much media attention the day he died. But Simeon is a man who’s story has been recorded in the Bible, just as his and his names have been found in the book of life.
Simeon was told that he would not die until he had seen the Christ child. Forty days after Jesus was born Simeon was in the temple when that moment came when he saw and held salvation in the baby boy who would grow and die on a cross for him and for you.
His time has come. Your time is coming. But you are in good hands as you hear the words of God that he has loved you and sent his son to die for you so that you might live forever.
I regret not spending more time with him as I am sure we all do. But I look forward to seeing him again in glory, in perfected glory as he looks back with his perfectly recreated eyes. I cannot wait and I know he is eager waiting with all the saints who have gone before us for that day when we will all be made new and there will no longer be any time for war, but together in the Church triumphant there will only be time for peace and for love and for laughter and joy and dancing.
In the name of Jesus who has won the victory for him and for you.